Ever since the Monday Night Wars ended, there's always been talk of what needs to happen to bring back the "casual fan." The diehards will always tune in to programming, but how should pro wrestling go about in recruiting back those that only tuned in for the blood, violence and sex of the Attitude Era?
"You guys have heard the term 'casual fan.' Oh, how are they going to get the 'casual fan'? I honestly threw up in my mouth every time I heard it because it's this vernacular to describe wrestling that it is based on the Monday Night Wars," said Cody. "When the Monday Night Wars are over, they are not a thing, and are not happening here and now in the present. What is happening in the here and now is not something we can determine what it is, it's something only history will be able to tell us.
"My focus is always the base that built AEW, and that base, if you have seen it you get it. And if you haven't seen it it's just something that you have to see and feel. Bully knows what I am talking about. There is a lot of confidence that sometimes can get misplaced for arrogance on my behalf or on the Elite's behalf, but I have seen the power. I have seen it and that is why I want to focus on them first and foremost. There are people who are critical of what AEW does, and instead of signal boosting that, I would rather 100 of the fans that we have in that base than that one salty, son of a b***h who is not coming on board. I have to take care of the people who brought us to the dance in the first place and I think that will be appealing on a global level. I genuinely do."
An AEW wrestler who made his presence felt at Fyter Fest was Shawn Spears fka Tye Dillinger. Spears busted open Cody the hard way by delivering a chair shot to an unprotected Cody which made headlines. Cody was asked how AEW was able to get Spears over so quickly and he singled out that moment.
"It took a snap of a finger and it took ten staples to the back of my head," Cody said of the results of the chair shot. "I think the answer with how somebody like Shawn Spears goes from toiling in obscurity from the middle card, I should know that answer better than anybody because I was toiling in the middle card."
Cody also brought up AEW's YouTube Channel for helping tell the stories of wrestlers and he credited Tully Blanchard who has his fingerprints all over Spears.
"It is one thing they have done really well, they have moved the 'The Road To' series, which was produced in Atlanta, they moved it from Atlanta, GA and moved it to the All Elite Wrestling channel now. It's a full All Elite Wrestling show," stated Cody. "I have let it go there and absolutely love it. They have been able to tell wrestler's real stories. Wrestlers have an interesting life. People love the reality of our industry. That is one thing that we keep saying in AEW, we keep saying, 'Sports Centric.' It means a lot of things but one thing that it means is to cover the day-to-day lives of who these people really are. It may not be the traditional means of getting a character connected, and I don't know, it may be the magic of Tully Blanchard.
"Love him or hate him, I don't know how I particularly feel about him, but when that guy talks there's magic. When that guy moves there's magic. It's really special for a younger wrestler to even see Tully Blanchard. That could have been the one thing that Shawn Spears needed all along, that one, true adviser and he got somebody very unexpected and Tully Blanchard is something."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.